Thomas J. D’Agostino, director of the Colleges Center for Global Education, co-edited a book titled “Understanding the Contemporary Caribbean” with Richard S. Hillman. The book, re-released as a second edition, is published by Lynne Reinner Publications. D’Agostino also wrote the chapter “Caribbean Politics” in the book.
Designed to enhance readers’ comprehension and appreciation of the traditions, influences and common themes underlying the many differences within this complex region, the second edition of “Understanding the Contemporary Caribbean” covers history, economics, politics, the environment, ethnicity, religion, the role of women in the region and the Caribbean diaspora.
Being that most courses about the Caribbean are taught through periodicals, D’Agostino’s book is unique. “There are no textbooks that give general overviews of the region,” he says. “Rarely do people deal with the whole Caribbean.”
Because the Caribbean is “divided up into linguistic areas,” the book highlights general points that occur throughout the nations. Taking topics that are relevant to many countries, D’Agostino illustrates the themes that often occur in many parts of the Caribbean. Issues on democracy and tourism play central roles throughout the text.
“Many nations have really struggled to promote democratic governments,” he says.
Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic are some of the focal points in D’Agostino’s chapter, as well as the political unrest that is a prevalent topic occurring in these nations today. Often focusing on the current political climate of the Caribbean nations, the text does give a brief history on the countries discussed. Having authors from some from a range of backgrounds, such as England, Jamaica and Canada, the text aims to be “accessible to a wide audience.”
Hillman and D’Agostino have collaborated on several other publications, including the book “Distant Neighbors in the Caribbean: The Dominican Republic and Jamaica in Comparative Perspective;” the article “Political Parties, Public Opinion, and the Future of Democracy in Venezuela,” published in Opiniao PÃºblica, and “Comparing Hispanic and Anglophone Political Cultures in the Caribbean: The Cases of the Dominican Republic and Jamaica,” in Caribbean Studies newsletter. D’Agostino also wrote the chapter “Latin American Politics” in “Understanding Contemporary Latin America,” edited by Hillman.
D’Agostino has 11 years of teaching experience, offering courses in political science and Latin American and Caribbean studies, and began working in the field of international education in 1994. Before joining the Colleges in 2000, D’Agostino was an associate professor of political science and director of international programs at Siena College. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Syracuse University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish, received cum laude, from St. John Fisher College.